or not? Not. Our neighbour came over for a last cup of tea yesterday morning. Her last cup of tea as a neighbour.
We arranged it last week. She would be giving the house a last, thorough clean before the new neighbours move in and there were things she needed to return - a biscuit cutter shaped like a fish and the trolley that her husband had borrowed to move some of their possessions.
As they are not moving too far we will see them again. The two children want to come back for craft sessions with my father. He is going to teach them some basic woodwork skills. The six year old is anxious to make an aeroplane, the ten year old wants a box for her toy theatre.
But, they will not be just across the road. We will not collect their mail or water their garden when they are away. I will not hear the distinctive sound of their car.
So, I had it all ready. I had picked it out the night before. I had tied a piece of blue curling ribbon around it. Would my neighbour remember what she had asked me to do?
She arrived at the door with a box of things that we had forgotten about. There was a song book, the music box that plays a Christmas carol, the other toy theatre that the ten year old borrowed for school last term and a puppet like a cow. All of these things are evidence of our involvement with the two children.
And there, on top, was what I was waiting for. Our neighbour is actually looking a bit teary-eyed. It was her idea, not mine. I like it. We will each be giving away part of ourselves to be used by the other. She has done the same thing with her grandmother and her mother. We silently exchange used wooden spoons.